As I have mentioned recently, I’m reading a book about Introverts. I haven’t finished it yet cause I haven’t read much this past week BUT from what I have read, it has definitely brought up things in my mind that bother me. I classify myself as an Introvert. I’m better in situations one on one than with big groups. I’m not big into parties and all the loud noise; I much prefer movie nights with my husband or reading by myself. I’m able, just like many other introverts, to get by in groups or going to party functions, but when it’s over, I am thrilled to be away from it and I usually end up feeling exhausted from being put into those situations. I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about the words “Shy” and “Introverted”. People seem to think they are the same, but they’re not. Because I am an introvert, I think I can come off shy around people when I first meet them. I USED to be shy when I was younger, but I don’t consider myself “shy” anymore. When I first meet people, I’m not one to talk their heads off and as an introvert, I HATE small talk. IF someone brings up a topic I am very interested in, I can become LIKE an extrovert though. But I’m an introvert, so I take in details about people all around me and analyze them in my head. I speak out what needs to be said and what I want to say, but I don’t just speak to fill empty air. This ends up making me look like I’m shy and yes, it’s aggravating when people come to that conclusion over and over again.
Another misconception is that you are 100% introvert or 100% extrovert. I think that’s a rare thing indeed if you are. I believe all introverts have areas where they are more extroverted and vice versa. For instance, with me, I am very big into performance arts and I know a lot of people still don’t understand how someone introverted can go on stage and act, sing or dance and be comfortable with it. Well, every time I went on stage, my hands shook like crazy before and after. I was nervous up until the point I hit the stage and the adrenaline took over. For anyone with any performance background at all, you will know that performing in any way is a way of becoming someone else for a short time and casting off yourself and what you’re feeling at that moment. Even as an introvert, I was able to overcome what normally would be uncomfortable for me by becoming a character. On the stage, I was not Sharon anymore, I was whatever character I needed to be. In costumes and make-up with people looking on, I got myself to believe that while I was on stage, the audience wasn’t watching me, they were watching whoever I was pretending to be at that moment. If they didn’t like the character, that was fine, because when I left the stage, I was me again. The judgment wasn’t on me but the character. There was only one time in Acting that I ever felt completely vulnerable and uncomfortable and that was when I did a monologue in Acting class. The monologue was for a character whose lines fit exactly how I felt and never would have had the guts to say out loud. I used the monologue to give myself the chance to speak the words I never had the courage to say and I was extremely nervous and felt like I was exposed. After it was all said and done, I felt very accomplished, though…and strong. I did something the little shy girl of long ago could have never even considered doing. But it was hard and definitely out of my comfort zone.
The way I speak in my blogs when I am 100% honest and open is NOT the way I speak to people I barely know. In fact, it’s not completely even the way I speak to the people closest to me. That’s another part of being introverted. We seem to find it easier to speak to groups through a computer instead of face to face. We can blog about our deepest problems to anyone who chooses to read whereas if we were telling people in a group, we would probably forget our words or come out seeming inarticulate. The Internet is one of the best inventions for introverts. We can come off as extroverted while in the safety of our own homes by ourselves.
When I’m in groups of people I’m really close to, I let loose and feel comfortable. I act silly and come off extroverted because of the comfort of the people around me, but I still go home at the end of the day tired from being so different from the quiet girl I usually am.
One last thing that really bothers me that I have read in this book is how people treat introverts. Teachers, parents and bosses seem to think that the word “Introvert” is a bad word. They all want to put the focus on group learning and team building and the ones who seem the most confident end up being the top dogs. Even if the introvert may be the most intelligent one, it seems the world really puts too much emphasis on extroverts. Why? You’re not going to find a true introvert staying up late partying and coming into work late or talking to their coworkers when they should be working. Why doesn’t the world appreciate how wonderful introverts can be? We think more deeply before we speak, pay attention to the little details that others miss, and can sometimes empathize with others strongly. I think we introverts are pretty darn awesome, if you ask me!
So…are YOU an introvert or an extrovert? Do YOU think introverts are under rated and extroverts are OVERrated? I would love to hear others thoughts. I may do another post again after I finally finish this book. I definitely recommend it!